The state Senate passed Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen’s energy bill (Senate Bill 5735) on a mostly party-line vote (26-23) yesterday. SB 5735 aims to encourage carbon emission reductions, while creating jobs and avoiding new taxes by giving large electric utilities an “alternative way to comply with a state law requiring them to get more energy from renewable sources.”
As Shift reported, in 2006, voters approved Initiative 937. The initiative requires electric utilities to get at least nine percent of their power from renewable resources by 2016 and at least 15 percent in 2020. Under the current law, utilities cannot count hydro-electric power in meeting the clean-energy mandate.
Ericksen’s bill would modify the initiative in order to allow electric utilities to invest in carbon reduction strategies to meet the alternative energy requirements. Utilities would gain credit toward the I-937’s mandate in a “variety of ways, such as building electric car charging stations or developing battery-storage technologies.”
Essentially, Ericksen’s energy bill seeks to provide incentives for businesses to reduce carbon emissions. The bill is the stark opposite of Jay Inslee’s cap-and-tax bill, which would punish businesses and place a heavier cost burden on Washington’s working families.
The bill moves to the Democrat-controlled state House. Whether Democrats choose to act on a policy that is not on the extreme “green” agenda will reveal just how serious they are about reducing carbon emissions without harming working families.